Tuesday, May 31, 2016
By Associated Press
By ELIZABETH LANG
Transforming hemp into the surfboard beneath your feet or the plane that takes you skyward: That’s the mission of the Canadian company Hempearth, which has made Costa Rica a key player in its operations. Hemp is the non-psychoactive variety of the Cannabis sativa plant, and is often used for industrial reasons because of its strength and versatility. Hempearth’s founder, Derek Kesek, a Canadian internet marketer, musician, chef and former organic restaurant owner, is working to create of the world’s first hemp airplane, its biofuel and a series of hemp surfboards.
While his company is headquartered in Waterloo, Ontario, Kesek has also been working out of La Guácima, Alajuela, where the company has been producing hemp biofuel. He anticipates that within a month, Hempearth’s surfboards will be released in Costa Rica as well.
The Tico Times spoke with Kesek about his innovative project. Excerpts follow.
Can you tell me more about the hemp airplane?
About three years ago I started a company solely based on hemp. I contacted several plane manufacturing companies and asked them if this idea was possible. I sent them some hemp, did some testing and then I got a contract signed by one of the companies. The rest was history. Then I started getting help from some newspapers and so on. We’ve been on Kickstarter, but we’ll probably have to do it again. I was recently in Costa Rica for about eight months, producing the hemp biofuel for the plane. … I put my heart and soul into this project, just one day at a time.
Why did you choose to use hemp?
Because it’s eco, it’s green, it’s sustainable and we all want a better future. It’s lighter, it’s stronger and it’s becoming legalized all over the world.
What is the process to produce the biofuel here in Costa Rica?
We had some hemp seed oil shipped in from Canada. I had a chemist make the fuel and he has his own processing plant located just outside of San José, so he produces the fuel for us. Once the hemp plane is ready, we’ll fuel it with this particular hemp fuel.
Have you tried out the surfboards? When are you releasing them?
They’re coming out soon. I just found the shaper. Probably within the next month you’ll see some hemp surfboards surfacing from the company. I’ve met some pro surfers in Costa Rica who are going to ride the boards, including Marcela García and Valeria Soto.
Why did you choose to distribute them in Costa Rica?
It’s a big industry there. I learned how to surf when I was there, so I love it. Hemp can also grow very well in Costa Rica. They’re about to legalize that kind of stuff. It’s a great industry; it can replace coffee and sugar cane.
Basically, by building these boards, producing biofuel in Costa Rica made from hemp and producing hemp surfboards there, we just want to get a head start on a really big industry that’s coming. It’s going to benefit the country and it will create jobs.
Contact Elizabeth Lang at email@example.com
By Kathy Garton
Federal law still bans the cultivation of hemp even though demand has never been higher and farmers have never been high.
- Ethan Jacobs
- May 27, 2016
- By Ethan Jacobs
- Source: inverse.com
- Here’s a riddle for you: you can eat it, you can wear it, but it’s illegal to grow it in the United States. What is it?Hemp.And yet, the Federation of American Scientists, in a report to Congress last year, estimated the U.S. demand for hemp to be about $580 million annually. The United States is a leading consumer of hemp and the only industrialized country that still bans growing it.Activist Mike Lewis is working to reverse that. His work is featured in a new short film called Harvesting Liberty that’s backed by high-end outdoor apparel company Patagonia, and which sees its release just as a legalization proposal — the”Industrial Hemp Farming Act” — awaits action in Congress. As the founder of theGrowing Warriors, a non-profit that teaches veterans how to farm, Wilson has been granted federal permission to grow hemp (he found a loophole; an amendment to the Farm Bill) but he won’t stop there.Harvesting Liberty shows the benefits that hemp farming holds for food, fuel, fiber, and families in a struggling community in rural Kentucky. Lewis and his team have made strides in the short time they’ve been fighting for the legalization of hemp farming, including the symbolic gesture of flying an American flag made from hemp at the U.S. Capitol last year. On July 4, a petition will be delivered to Congress to legalize the cultivation of hemp in the United States.Inverse spoke with Lewis about his investment in the hemp industry, the crucial difference between hemp and marijuana, his conflicted feelings about military, and the importance of small-scale farming in America’s historical fabric.You started Growing Warriors before the hemp became part of it, right?Yes. I was interested in the security of it. Why are our soldiers not self-sufficient? Why are they asking for a handout? That was what spawned it.How did you start learning about hemp and its potential?Well I didn’t at first. At first I got involved with lobbying, for Senate Bill 50 just to support Kentucky agriculture commissioner James Comer. That was kind of it until I met Rebecca Burgess from Fibershed. I started seeing some of the artisanal stuff and I started reading about textile production, just piecing together that you can’t have food security without land security. So if we don’t take care of the land that feeds us, it doesn’t matter what we’re doing.When you have all this diversity, not just in the plant, the amount of things you can use this for and make from it is kind of dumbfounding. I saw it as a path to cleaning up our land. Maybe changing a little bit of peoples’ minds about how we consume things and we consume cheap shit all the time!Were people skeptical because they were associating it with weed?It still happens a lot. We’re surrounded by a couple churches that still think we’re up to something else. It’s part of the misinformation that comes from the other side, trying to hold us backHow much of your mission is reversing the misconception?I think right now that’s my whole mission. That’s the mission of House Bill 525. At least some people will say, ‘wait a minute!’ For the longest time the state police and the DEA still say we’re going to hide our marijuana crops in [our hemp crops]. I can’t believe these guys are in charge of government agencies and they don’t understand basic biology!Could you tell me more about the science behind that?When they’re growing for THC they’re growing females. They want flowers. They don’t want seeds in there because two things are going to happen. One, our plants are going to pollinate that and it’s going to be full of seeds and it’s going to diminish the desire of the crop. Then you also have plants that are cross-pollinating with the THC plants and our plants have no THC so they actually lower the THC of plants around it.So hemp actually counteracts marijuana growth?Yeah. If you get hemp in your THC you’ve got a big problem! You can go from 24 percent THC, full-female clone plant, to being within a quarter mile of me that’s going to turn into 10 percent ditch weed.And it’s also a more environmentally sound crop because it doesn’t require irrigation or use pesticides, correct?Yes and no. The way we grow it sustainably and organically we’re not using pesticides and irrigation, but if you threw this into a corn belt rotation of soy you’re going to have to do something. It is a lot more environmentally friendly, it grows a lot faster, you get a larger yield per acre. Four acres of hemp creates an equivalent of an acre of forest and grows in 100 days versus 100 years. There is a tremendous amount of potential.
”If marijuana ever was legalized, it wouldn’t be me growing it, it would be some dude in a greenhouse.”Do you see the increasingly relaxed attitudes about marijuana having any effect on your mission?I’m not a cannabis, THC farmer, but I have a hard time looking at that knowing what I know about food policy and food processing regulations to know that if marijuana ever was legalized nationwide, it wouldn’t be me growing it, it would be some dude in a greenhouse with hydroponic clones. That’s awful for the environment, too. What I’ve also seen it do is create a lot of tax revenue and we’ve got plenty of tax revenue where everybody’s impoverished, it’s not doing something to help anybody get ahead. We have to find creative ways to empower people and give them a hand up and I don’t really see how that’s happening in the THC side of things. Don’t get me wrong, I have some friends making a ton of money off of this. But you know, they’re not hiring a lot of people. You’ve got a thousand square-foot facility with four employees.Where does the misconception about hemp and marijuana come from?Propaganda from the ‘40s! It started in the ‘40s and ‘50s with the Hearst family and the Rockefeller family.Can you estimate how many jobs it could create?I don’t know how plausible it is, and a lot of times when you look at how they calculate jobs ‘oh we just made five jobs!’ No you just stole five jobs. So I’d like to look at it in the context of my community. This is what I’ll always say. I live in a rural community. There’s a town a mile from my farm, it’s got 226 people. We have an unemployment rate of over 25 percent. I think over half of our population is below the poverty line. Having five acres of industrial hemp on our farm would create four to five jobs in our town this year. So that’s the best answer I can give. We’re talking about 5-7 percent of people.Could the United States export its hemp?Absolutely! Europe has its bases covered. Europe has excess seed every year, they don’t have the acreage. So this could be an export crop. American farmers are pretty damn good at what we do. So I think if we get our hands on it and we get the opportunity to get it out there absolutely are we going to be exporting not only our technology but also our raw goods and ultimately our seeds.Before you deliver the petition this summer, how many signatures are you hoping to get?As many as I can man, millions. I don’t know how many there are right now. Tomorrow morning we’re driving up to Monticello and we’re going to fly the flag over Monticello with Willie Nelson.How do you reconcile your pride in America with your frustration that the government still bans a crop with so much potential for veterans?For me there’s a distinct difference between the land that we farm and live on and the people that I live with and the government that dictates and runs us. I love this country, I love this land, and I’ll do everything I can for it, but I don’t always like what goes on in the government side. Ironically this country was built on hemp, in colonial Jamestown if you didn’t grow hemp you got fined. We’ve just gone too far, we don’t have enough respect for the land and each other and I hope that’s what this movie says.Are you optimistic at this point? How are you feeling?I’m always pretty optimistic. Just look at what happened in a year and a half. About this time in the spring of 2014 we were in federal court suing the right to grow this crop and then on veteran’s day in 2015, less than a year and a half later, they opened the doors of the Capitol and let us in so we could fly our hemp flag. It’s happening pretty quickly.What are your concerns?My concern is how we push it forward because how we do that dictates how this crop gets treated and if we push it forward as strictly another commodity crop then nothing’s happened. My job is to make sure we’re not focusing on the large-scale commodity side, we’re focusing on the smaller farmers. Now farmers are leasing their lands out to corn and soybean growers.This is a fight for quality over quantity, then.Absolutely. If you think about our earliest artifacts that you can find, they’re tools, things we used everyday because when you made things, you made them with care, because you were going to give them to your kids whether it was a shovel or a bowl. Now we make everything to be thrown away and then we scratch our heads like, ‘Oh my god why are the ice caps falling in the water? Where are all the polar bears? Oh we bought a bunch of cheap shit and kept buying it and then throwing it away.’Photos via Vimeo/Patagonia
Thursday, May 26, 2016
By Maria Rodale
by guest blogger Lisa Bronner, writer of the blog Going Green with a Bronner Mom
There are a lot of superlative claims about hemp oil: most unsaturated oil, best essential fatty acids (EFA) ratio and combination, highest amino acid variety, only plant source of vitamin D. Can one oil be all that? In short, yes.
Before we go further, let me address that unspoken question, “Will hemp oil make me high?” No, it won’t. Hemp oil is pressed from the seed of the hemp plant, and this seed does not contain THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, which is the psychoactive component of marijuana. However, because of this concern, many hemp oil suppliers provide transparent certifications to assure buyers of the lack of THC content in their products. Test Pledge is one such resource, wherein “producers and processors of hemp oil and hemp nut must commission THC tests on each and every lot of hemp nut and oil, performed by a properly accredited laboratory according to the official Health Canada protocol.”
In their assessment of hemp cosmetics on workplace drug testing, Petra Pless, DEnv, and Gero Leson, D Env, state, “In case of the highly unlikely full-body application of pure hemp oil with a 10 ppm THC content on partially compromised skin THC uptake could conceivably be raised to 11 µg/day. Even this higher rate is only a fraction of the 450 µg/day of oral THC intake, found not to result in a positive screening test for marijuana.”
Don’t judge hemp because it may have a kooky cousin. That’s hardly fair. Who doesn’t have an offbeat family member or two?
Hemp oil contains unsurpassed essential fatty acids (EFAs). As we are increasingly learning, there are good fats and there are bad fats. What makes a good fat good has much to do with these EFAs, specifically omega-3 and omega-6, which are present in hemp oil in the perfect ratio of 1:3. Plus, hemp oil contains the anti-inflammatory gamma linoleic acid (GLA) as well as omega-9. Its fatty acid profile is better than fish oil’s, better than flaxseed oil’s—it is the best. Among many benefits, these EFAs provide for more elastic skin and shiny, stronger hair.
Hemp oil contains a power-packed punch of additional nutrients, including calcium, potassium, magnesium, copper, vitamin A, vitamin B1 (thiamin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B5, vitamin B9 (folate), and vitamin D (of which it is the only plant source), along with a useful dose of the antioxidant vitamin E (tocopherols) as well as all 10 amino acids for protein building. Add to that list chlorophyll (that’s why it’s green), phytosterols, phospholipids, magnesium, sulfur, potassium, phosphorus, and a bit of iron and zinc.
Hemp oil is extremely non-comodogenic. In other words, it doesn’t clog pores. And because its lipids mirror the lipids that our skin produces naturally, it works in sync with our body to soothe and cleanse. Healthy skin produces linoleic acid. If, for whatever reason, the skin can’t produce linoleic acid, it alternatively produces oleic acid, a thick and sticky pore blocker. Hemp oil contains the good linoleic acid.
Hemp oil is also a natural humectant, which means it draws moisture into the skin. Instead of sitting on top of the skin the way less-effective oils do, it’s able to penetrate the skin, moisturizing between cells and strengthening the cell matrix. It can get to hair roots, as well, strengthening the scalp and reducing dry flaking or dandruff. It evens out skin tone and reduces blotchiness.
How to Use It
Hemp oil is inexpensive—especially when you think of all the products it replaces: acne treatments, makeup to cover problem areas, moisturizers, and makeup removers, for instance. Here are just a few ways you can use this effective oil in your daily skin and hair care routines.
- Alleviate dry skin. Rub the oil directly onto dry, cracked skin. For a deep conditioning treatment for hands and feet, massage in the oil then wear socks or gloves overnight to let it work its magic.
- Strengthen nails and heal cuticles. Massage a small amount of hemp oil directly into nails and cuticles—great for both fingernails and toenails.
- Remove makeup. Oil follows the “like dissolves like” rule, which means that hemp oil will dissolve the oils and waxes in makeup, especially in stubborn eye makeup. Gently rub a small amount of oil into the makeup and wipe with a cotton ball or a soft tissue.
- Mask overnight. Massage hemp oil into cleansed facial skin before bedtime.
- Steam facial skin. Massage a tablespoon of oil into the skin on your dry, clean face, massaging for several minutes. Then lay a hot (not scalding) damp washcloth over your face and let it sit until it cools. Wipe with the washcloth. Repeat with another hot washcloth until all the oil is wiped off. Washing your face afterwards is optional.
- Condition hair. Before shampooing, massage a tablespoon or so of hemp oil into your scalp and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Afterwards, shampoo as normal. You might find you don’t need conditioner.
- Reduce acne. This may sound crazy, but this oil actually reduces acne. Massage hemp oil into problem areas and work it in gently for several minutes. The oil will actually draw out sebum plugs that cause whiteheads, blackheads, and even cysts. Do this daily during breakouts.
- Relieve eczema. A 2005 study found that 2 tablespoons of dietary hemp seed oil consumed daily may help relieve the effects of atopic dermatitis, or eczema.
- Support overall health. Eat it. You can eat it straight and enjoy its nutty flavor or you can put it in salad dressings, as a butter replacement on toast, rice, potatoes, vegetables...it’s delicious! Keep in mind that pure hemp seed oil cannot be used for high-heat cooking. It has a low smoke point and will totally break down even at a moderate heat, at which point all nutritional benefits are lost.
Lisa Bronner is the writer of the blog Going Green with a Bronner Mom, in connection with her family’s company, Dr. Bronner’s, makers of best-selling organic personal care products. Through her writing and public speaking, Lisa guides consumers through the quagmire of the organic marketplace and simplifies the process of green living at home. Embracing the concept of stewardship, she recognizes individuals’ ability to make a world of difference by how they live their every day. A stay-at-home mom to three, she believes that regularly gathering with them around the family dinner table is the single most important parenting act in her day.